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Friday, March 29, 2002
Updated: April 2, 7:02 PM ET
Big Jay, Baby Jay

Page 2 staff

They're the show before the show, the halftime entertainment, and with the exception of Ray Lewis' wardrobe, they're the furriest things in all of sports. From Dogs and Cats to Birds and Demons, they're the NCAA mascots -- lovable and sometimes violent, just like Tonya Harding.

Big Jay, Baby Jay
Big Jay, left, and Baby Jay ride the Kansas bandwagon to Atlanta.
In episode two of "A Very Special 10 Burning Questions Mascot Edition", Page 2's Ray Holloman caught up with the Phog Phowl, Big Jay and Baby Jay, Kansas' tag-team mascots (Jerry Pauly, a senior computer engineering major from Denton, Kan., and Eva Davis, a longtime fan of Rob Schneider) to sort out phact and phiction before their showdown with Testudo, a turtle that combines Juan Dixon's body with Leonid Brezhnev's eyebrows in one menacing package.

And of course, to further glorify the U.S. landmark that is Wesley Stokes' hair.

1. Page 2: Do you ever confuse Missouri's Wesley Stokes with a mascot?

Big Jay: I couldn't imagine any mascot being that furry! I'm just surprised he can even see the basket. With all of that hair in his face, I have no idea how he finds his feet, let alone a basketball.

Baby Jay: Actually, he kind of reminds me of a hair-ball Willie the Wildcat (KSU's mascot) coughed up. Does that count?

Has he ever gotten a maneuver over on the Jayhawks wherein the defense was thinking, "Oh, that's just a Chia Pet. Oh, it's the point guard!"

Big Jay: The Chia Pet and Stokes definitely have a lot in common. Of course, that is making fun of the Chia Pet. He does have an advantage over the defense because all he has to do is shake is head and the defender has no idea where Stokes is.

Do you think you could pull some strings with the Chia Pet people and get him on as their mascot?

Wesley Stokes
Wesley Stokes, right, or something Willie the Wildcat coughed up?
Baby Jay: I'm sure the Chia Pet people are loving Stokes about now. I heard sales in Missouri skyrocketed. Of course, it doesn't take much to confuse those guys. They probably thought they were buying team paraphernalia.

2. Do you and Woody the Woodpecker shop at the same store, or is it just a coincidence?

Big Jay: I've never met Woody, so I can't tell you where he shops. I can only guess that he copied the Jayhawk, because we are such an amazing bird. I find it quite a compliment.

Baby Jay: I never noticed the similarities. I don't blame the Woodpecker for wanting to look like the most unique bird in the NCAA. Quite frankly, I am flattered by his complementary style. My question is: Does "The Terpster" realize the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are out?

3. You're a bird. Be honest, after a tough game do you ever, ya know, target an opposing coach's car?

Big Jay: Not the car, that's not my style. Instead, I just wait until they play the Jayhawks again. Then I get my revenge.

Baby Jay: Um, I think I am going to take the fifth on this one!

Testudo
Testudo the Terrapins mascot is no threat to the Jayhawks' duo.
4. Who wins between a Jayhawk and a Turtle? (Again, sadly, the lack of thumbs prevents the ultra manly thumb wrestling showdown.) Is there any mascot in the NCAA less intimidating than a turtle? Isn't Fear the Turtle kind of like Fear the Speedbump?

Big Jay: Even though the Terrapin has a hard shell to protect itself, that will only slow me, not stop me. I would use my ability to fly and my speed and agility to attack it from all sides. My large sharp beak would finally crack the shell, and then I would enjoy a nice bowl of turtle soup. The only mascot less intimidating than a turtle is the Stanford Tree. When has a bird ever been afraid of a tree?

Baby Jay: I don't know what egg hatched the Terrapin, but the Jayhawks were both sophisticated enough to be hatched with thumbs. As far as who wins ... did you really need to ask? I have this mental image of him lying on his back with his legs flailing unable to roll back over. Turtles, in general, aren't much of a match. Too bad for the hare.

5. What's the best way to describe the Big Jay-Baby Jay relationship? A Yogi Bear-Boo Boo type thing, or a more loving paternal thing, possibly starring Bob Saget in the lead role?

Big Jay: Baby Jay is really my best friend. The Yogi Bear-BooBoo relationship really describes it. I protect Baby, and Baby tries to ground me.

Baby Jay: Big Jay has always got my "feather," or I guess, as you humans call it, my "back." He watches out for me, and we are really good friends. Nothing else though, no funny stuff. I wouldn't mind a pic-a-nic with Yogi Bear, though!

Herky
Keep the kids away from Herky the Hawkeye.
6. If you could challenge one mascot mano-a-mano, who would it be?

Big Jay: Kansas State's Willey the Wildcat. Not only is there a lot of feuding between our two schools, but also he isn't even a real mascot. What kind of cat doesn't have claws, body fur or a tail? He acts pretty tough, but in reality he is just a pansy.

Baby Jay: No. 1, Truman the Tiger. No. 2, Lil' Red because (a) he's not little, and (b) I think he would be fun to bounce off of.

7. What's the best prank ever pulled by a mascot? What's the best prank you've ever pulled?

Big Jay: There are two that really pop into my mind. My personal favorite is the ESPN commercial where the Georgetown Bulldog steals a racecar and does doughnuts in the parking lot. The other is a clip I've seen of an NBA mascot doing a flip through a flaming hoop to dunk a basketball.

One of my best running gags involves the drum majors -- our marching band. They stand on ladders to direct the band at football games. I always shake the ladder while they are on it. One drum major turned around, saw me, and fell off the ladder. I was over 10 feet away! The whole band still kids him about it.

Baby Jay: I think the suit heist "takes the cake." I have enjoyed placing Jayhawk stickers on other mascots during nationally televised games. Just want to make sure everyone is supporting the right team.

Truman
We sense some tension between Mizzou's Truman the Tiger and Kansas' Jays.
8. Who's the most intimidating mascot in the NCAAs? We here at Page 2 are still holding onto the ripped and armed Purdue Pete and Michigan State Spartan.

Big Jay: Both mascots may be ripped and armed, but neither of them can fly, so I'm not too concerned. The mascot who truly scares me is the Banana Slug. How in the world can you fight a slug that throws banana peels at you?

Baby Jay: Herky from Iowa. Have you seen that thing? I can honestly say if I was a child, I would run from it, it's frightening. It's sad because I have met Herky, and I think he's a good guy ... he's just really creepy-looking.

9. If you could invite any three mascots -- living or dead -- to dinner, who would it be and why?

Big Jay: The San Diego Chicken would be at the top of my list. He is one of the greatest mascots ever and really popularized mascots in this nation. Next, the Jamestown Community College of New York mascot because he is the only other Jayhawk mascot in the nation. Last, the Mizzou Tiger, Truman, would be my choice to serve as the main course.

SpongeBob SquarePants
SpongeBob SquarePants can't quite make Baby Jay's guest list.
Baby Jay: No. 1, T.C., the mascot for the University if Northern Iowa. Ummm ... I have a little crush on him. Well, actually I think he's hot! No. 2, Mr. Potato Head, because anyone that can rearrange their face is worthy of a dinner invitation in my book, plus he's a potato! No. 3, The Pink Panther. You wouldn't think I would ask a cat to my party, but I grew up watching him on TV. He's my role model.

Runners-up: Pepé Le Pew and SpongeBob SquarePants.

10. What's your theory as to what the hell J.J. Jumper, the official NCAA Mascot, is? Is that a coonskin cap? And if so, how long have they had raccoons on Three Mile Island?

Big Jay: I'm not sure, but I think he is a frog who signed up with Hair Club for Men.

Baby Jay: I think he and Stokes might be related. They both have terrible ball handling skills. Of course, who could blame them -- I couldn't do much with a mop on my head either.